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Not to be confused with The Pope is a former UK government bureaucrat and a current "UFO expert". His main claim to fame is his three-year stint at the "UFO desk" of the UK Ministry of Defence, dealing with UFO reports and related inquiries. Apparently his work turned him into an UFO believer: after he was moved to another job in the Ministry, he wrote a book, Open Skies, Closed Minds, and rose to fame in the UFO-sphere, exploiting his status of a "government insider" and "Britain's Fox Mulder".
Position at the MoD
Pope worked at the Ministry of Defence from 1985 to 2006. Between 1991 and 1994, as a junior manager, Executive Officer (EO -The lowest civil service management grade), he worked at "Secretariat (Air Staff) 2a", the office that was, among other things, responsible for handling UFO reports and related inquiries received by the MoD from members of the public, etc. The section is sometimes described as "the real X-Files", but its actual work was far less glamorous. The nominal reason for collecting UFO sightings report was to determine whether any of them had a defence significance. Any reports of interest would have been referred upwards from Mr. Pope's desk to senior officers for investigation. Most (if not all) of its files have been declassified and digital copies are available for a small fee from the UK National Archives. (Though they can also be found on various UFO and conspiracy-theory-related websites, as the PDFs had been offered for free on the Archives' website for a brief period of time.) In 2009, Mr. Pope's successor mentioned the routine nature of the job. The MoD announced that it will no longer collect UFO reports.
It is interesting and bemusing to see that Mr. Pope is portrayed in various UFO documentaries such as Ancient Aliens, et al, that he is either a former Director in the (UK) Ministry of Defence (MoD), Defence Expert, Analyst etc. Most of what Mr. Pope comments on is already 'open source' and known by other UFO researchers, or interested members of the public.
Nowadays  Pope calls himself the “former head of the MoD’s UFO project”, which is also a trifle inflated. Pope’s job description shows that he was supposed to spend maybe a day a week dealing with UFOs, sending out all those boilerplate letters saying that UFOs had never been a defence threat and that the Ministry did not investigate sightings.
- Open Skies, Closed Minds, 1999, ISBN 0-87951-916-9
Want to read this in another language?
- Official website
- How not to report a UFO, Pope complaining about the MoD's decision to stop "investigating" UFO reports, "Comment is free" section of The Guardian, 4 December 2009
- Col. Arnold Moulder, A Diet of Worms: What is Nick Pope trying to hide?, an article about Pope in SUNlite Vol.1 Num.3, September-October 2009